Resilient Rosses woman Margaret O'Donnell turns 103 on Sunday

Michelle NicPhaidin hears how a healthy appetite and being strong willed can lead to a very long life

Margaret O'Donnell birthday

Margaret O'Donnell holding her loving nephew Conail Breslin

Rossses woman, Margaret O'Donnell, who spent many long years in Scotland and England working, will turn 103 years of age on Sunday, February 3.
Margaret was born in 1916 in the picturesque town of Dungloe, and like many before her, went to Scotland and England to find employment.
She worked in England with her younger sister Mary in a public house during the second World War.
Times were difficult and different then but Margaret and her sister made the best of their time there together.
The only stipulation the Rosses ladies made to the owner of the premises was that they would be facilitated with bicycles so that they could both cycle to Mass on a Sunday morning.
Conail Breslin, who is the nephew of Margaret and the son of Mary, recalls stories that both women recounted in relation to that historical era in England.

Birthday girl - Margaret O'Donnell

He said: “Maggie told us that the owner of the pub and his wife used to always fight about a certain pair of slippers.
“One day Maggie took the slippers and threw the slippers into the fire and that put an end to that.”
He said that Margaret was a strong willed woman like many women from the Rosses who lived through the same era. They had a certain resilience that is rarely found in people these days.
“She was a strong willed woman. She was a woman who knew her mind and didn't give into things .”
He added that Margaret was religious and always frequented Mass as regularly as she could.
Her weekly outing was going to Mass to pray which she enjoyed.
Margaret was not a very keen socialiser and preferred to spend her time in the company of family.
Conail said that his aunt lived next door to his family for many years in Clydebank in Scotland and during this time Margaret became like a second mother to Conail and his siblings.
“She was like a second mother to us and when we went to Ireland on holidays, she would look after my father, Edward McBrearty from Kilcar. She would cook, clean and iron for him.”
Conail said that Margaret was always healthy and at the age of one hundred she could eat a three course meal, including the pudding.
He said: “She has always been a very, very good eater and loves fish and duck.
“She ate a three course meal up until she was one hundred years of age,” he said.
Margaret, who didn't marry, lived alone for most of her life and in her latter years moved to the nursing home in Gaoth Dobhair where she presently resides.
It is certain that many of her loving family and her large circle of friends will travel to the Gaoth Dobhair nursing home to celebrate her mammoth birthday alongside her on Sunday, February 3.
Everyone who knows and loves her would like to take this opportunity to wish Margaret all the very best on this very special occasion.

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